The Other 26: Bracket-Busting, East and Midwest Edition

Posted by IRenko on March 20th, 2013

RTC_final4_atlanta

I. Renko is an RTC columnist and the author of the weekly column, The Other 26. Follow him on Twitter @IRenkoHoops.

This is part two of our TO26 bracket analysis, focusing on the 17 non-power-conference teams that populate the East and Midwest regions. The teams are grouped into five rough categories, and, within each category, they are ordered by their likelihood of advancing.  For our analysis of the South and West regions, see here.

Regional Threats

These are the teams that have a credible chance of dancing all the way to the Sweet Sixteen and beyond.

  • St. Louis (#4 Midwest) — The Bilikens are flying a bit under the radar, but this is a team that should be a favorite for a Sweet 16 run. They have one of the best defenses in the country, a group of experienced guards who can attack and shoot (Kwamain Mitchell, Mike McCall, Jordair Jett), a surprisingly effective post presence in Dwayne Evans, and a pair of pick-‘n-pop big men (Rob Loe, Cody Ellis) who can drain the three. It should be said, though, that the Bilikens’ draw is not necessarily ideal. A first-round game against New Mexico State presents some matchup quandaries (see below), as does a potential Third Round game against Oklahoma State — both teams are prepared to bang and grind with the Bilikens down low. Ultimately, I think the St. Louis’ defense is strong enough to get them to the Sweet 16, where their steady guard play gives them a non-trivial chance of knocking off the Cards.
Can Rotnei Clarke Lead Butler Back to the Final Four?

Can Rotnei Clarke Lead Butler Back to the Final Four?

  • Butler (#6, East) — Yes, they’re back. Neither Bucknell nor their potential Third Round opponent (Marquette or Davidson) will be an easy team to conquer, but all three of these teams will give Butler an important reprieve from its biggest vulnerability — a tendency to turn it over. Bucknell and Marquette will also play at the kind of grinding pace at which the Bulldogs excel. And they’ll focus their offense on the areas of the floor where Butler’s defense is strongest — the paint. Butler also has the shooters — Rotnei Clark, Kellen Dunham — to bombard Marquette’s compact defense and the rebounders to exploit Marquette’s weakness on the glass. If anything, Bucknell may pose a bigger matchup problem, as they tend to chase teams off the three-point line and they don’t give up much on the offensive glass. The Bison will be a tough opponent, but when you look at Butler’s pod as a whole, a Sweet 16 run looks well within reach.

One and Done

These teams have at least a 50/50 (or better) chance of picking up a win, but are unlikely to get two.

  • Colorado State (#8, Midwest) – I would actually bump the Rams up to the tail end of the “Regional Threats” group if not for the uncertain status of starting point guard Dorian Green. The team’s unquestioned floor general, Green suffered an ankle injury in the first round of the MWC tournament, and though he played in a semifinal loss to UNLV, was ineffective. With a fully healthy Green, the Rams’ have a good chance of toppling Missouri. The two teams are somewhat similar in that they try to score in the paint on offense, while keeping opponents out of the paint of it on defense. Neither team is especially potent from the three-point line, and both rely a fair amount on offensive rebounding, though the Rams’ have the advantage here, especially as they are equally adept at controlling their defensive glass. That, along with Missouri’s tendency to be a bit loose with the ball, may be the difference-maker. And don’t sleep on Colorado State’s chances against Louisville in the next round. The Cardinals’ weak points are defensive rebounding and three-point shooting. The Rams are the best offensive rebounding team in the country, and as noted above, their defense forces teams to beat them from the three-point line. They also take pretty good care of the ball, which will serve them well against Louisville’s pressure defense. But this analysis could be all for naught if Green isn’t healthy enough to be effective.
  • Creighton (#7, Midwest) Doug McDermott is perhaps the most fundamentally sound player in college basketball. His All-American status owes itself to his incredibly precise offensive footwork, positioning, movement, shot, and cuts. He has inside-outside skills that present a very tough matchup if you’re not used to guarding him. And he’s surrounded by lots of great three-point shooters. Cincinnati’s defense has generally been strong, so they might be able to contain McDermott and the Bluejays’ three-point attack. But they’ll have to be especially effective because their offense has been truly miserable. I like the Bluejays’ chances here. A Third Round matchup with Duke would be a tougher proposition, as the Blue Devils combine a defense that shuts down the three-point line with an offense that is far more high-powered than Cincinnati’s. McDermott may well get his points, especially posting up inside, but that’s not likely to be sufficient.

Read the rest of this entry »

Share this story

ATB: Gonzaga Destroys WVU Again, Michigan Freshmen Impress, and Anthony Bennett’s Debut…

Posted by Chris Johnson on November 13th, 2012

Tonight’s Lede. The 24 Hours of Hoops Marathon Returns. If the college hoops calendar consists of a series of holidays, ESPN’s annual Tip-Off marathon measures up with the sport’s best celebratory events. It doesn’t quite provide the suspense of March Madness, or the do-or-die desperation of conference championship week, but the 24 hour-long dose of nonstop hoops action that tipped off at Midnight ET with West Virginia visiting Gonzaga captures the essence of fandom in a way no other sporting event can. This is when the true diehards put their mental fortitude – and their ability to resist somnolent desires – to the test. Even if you can’t make it through the night without sneaking in a few Zs between games, don’t worry. For most, the marathon goes down sweeter in pieces; fortunately this year’s slate offers no shortage of highlights. So if you’ve already hit your saturation point on college hoops viewing, or are still gearing up for tonight’s headliners, enjoy the round-the-clock drama. It is the apex of college basketball’s scheduling ingenuity.

Your Watercooler Moment. Gonzaga Destroys West Virginia Again.

Beard Or No Beard on Kilicli, This is Becoming a Trend ( AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

In a rematch of last year’s Second Round NCAA Tournament game between the Zags and Mountaineers, tonight’s result was surprisingly similar to the game played last March — the only major difference was the setting. Last season, after traveling cross-country to face WVU in their backyard (Pittsburgh), the Zags ran out to a quick 27-10 lead and never looked back in a dominating 77-54 win. Tonight, after West Virginia repaid the favor in traveling cross-country to Spokane, the Zags ran out to a 34-12 lead en route to a dominating 84-50 win. It’s actually quite eerie to view the two box scores side by side, given how similarly both games played out. Over the past two games, Gonzaga has outscored the Mountaineers by a ridiculous 57 points, and the vaunted WVU defense has given up better than 50% shooting from both the field and beyond the arc in these two games. After last season’s loss, Bob Huggins said that he’d “never gotten beat like that” — clearly Mark Few’s team has provided the road map for the Big 12 in beating the Mountaineers, because it just happened again.

Tonight’s Quick Hits…

  • Hoosiers Keep On Rolling. Gleaning meaningful analysis from early season cupcake draws is never easy, so it’s hard to make too much of Indiana’s blistering 2-0 start, which includes a combined 69-point victory margin over Bryant and North Dakota State. But the Hoosiers have done little to shake their preseason perception, which is another way of saying Indiana looks like a #1 team. Cody Zeller finished with 22 points and nine rebounds and sophomore guard Remy Abell added 14 of his own against the Bison, who are expected to challenge the Nate Wolters-led South Dakota Jackrabbits for the Summit League crown.
  • Hawkeyes Freshman Continues to Impress. The name most every big Ten fan mentions in Iowa-related hoops discussions is freshman center Adam Woodbury, and for good reason: the Iowa native spurned offers from North Carolina, Ohio State and Wisconsin before deciding to stay in his home state. Woodbury will come around eventually — he’s a legitimate seven-feet, armed with above-average athleticism and a refined offensive game. After two games, though, fellow freshman Mike Gessell looks the more well-rounded product. Gessell notched five points and five assists in the Hawkeyes’ 73-61 victory over Central Michigan Monday night. With a few more performances like that, Gessell, not Woodbury, can assert himself as the Hawkeyes’ best freshman asset.
  • Balance Key For Memphis in Season-Opening Win. The notion that Memphis coach Josh Pastner is a better recruiter than coach is a popular one, and at this point in his tenure, probably a fair one. His early recruiting successes could finally pay dividends this season, just in time for the Tigers’ move to the Big East in 2012-13. The Tigers removed the curtain on their immensely-talented roster Monday night with a comfortable 81-66 defeat of North Florida. Forward Tarik Black led all scorers with 18 points, while point guard Joe Jackson added 14 points, six rebounds and five assists. Memphis gets one more tuneup Saturday with Samford before the Battle 4 Atlantis, far and away the best compilation of top-to-bottom talent of any non-conference tournament on this year’s slate.
  • No Rust For New-Look Michigan. There were few teams who polarized the college hoops punditry this preseason as much as Michigan. Various rankings pegged the Wolverines anywhere from outside the Top 25 to a Final Four contender. There’s good reason for this wide difference of opinion. Michigan is replacing a host of capable shooters (Zack Novak, Stu Douglass) with a frontcourt-heavy freshmen class. That kind of personnel turnover and roster dynamic is not, on its face, amenable to John Beilein’s guard-oriented attack. Early season results – the latest a 91-54 rout over IUPUI Monday night – indicate otherwise. Much-hyped freshman Glenn Robinson III submitted 21 points on 8-of-9 shooting, including 3-of-3 from beyond the arc. As Michigan prepares for its ACC-Big Ten Challenge matchup with NC State (November 27), the new pieces are firing on all cylinders.
  • Florida State is Going To Be Ok, After All. The most disappointing result of opening weekend was Florida State’s 76-71 home loss to South Alabama. Esteemed guard Michael Snaer finished 2-of-11 from the field, the stingy defense we’ve come to know from Leonard Hamilton’s teams of recent vintage was inexplicably AWOL, and you couldn’t help but walk away thinking the Seminoles didn’t enter the season in a sound mental state. Florida State rebounded from that harsh reality check against Buffalo, with Snaer contributing 19 points and forward Okaro White adding 13. More importantly, the Seminoles brought the defensive intensity that made them such a dangerous team last season. Buffalo turned it over 25 times and hit just six of 17 three-point shots. A note: Lead guard Javon McCrea, the reigning MAC freshman of the year, scored a team-high 17 points on 8-of-12 shooting.

And Misses…

  • Youngstown State Not Rewarded For Upsetting Georgia. Thanks to predetermined rules that set in stone the semifinal teams of the Legends Classic, Youngstown State cannot advance to the Brooklyn-based semifinal despite knocking off Georgia 68-56 in a game that saw the Bulldogs score just 14 points by halftime and shoot just over 32 percent from the field. The only reason Georgia kept the deficit within a respectable margin was Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who finished 10-of-18 from the field for 27 points and six rebounds. The Penguins are steadily improving under head coach Jerry Slocum and are more than capable of competing at the top half of the Horizon League in 2012-13. That said, even for a team as flawed and preponderantly-reliant on one player as Georgia is Caldwell-Pope, this counts as a bad loss, and a major stain on the early non-conference ledger. The Bulldogs clearly have some work to do before they get into SEC play.
  • Early Struggles Continue for LIU. Last month brought a very promising development for LIU’s hopes at winning a third consecutive Northeast Conference title. That’s when the Blackbirds learned the fates of four of their best players (including reigning NEC player of the year Julian Boyd and All-NEC forward Jamal Olaswere), all of whom were awaiting word on their status following an on-campus altercation that led to arrests and third-degree assault charges. The players would have to miss two NEC conference games, they learned, and take anger management courses and file community service work… and that’s about it. Their availability apparently has not helped LIU’s early season fortunes. The Blackbirds fell to 0-2 Monday night, the latest loss coming against projected middle-of-the-pack Patriot League member Lafayette. In two games, LIU has scored a combined 168 points, which leads one to believe defense ranks highly on the Blackbirds’ early season checklist. For the most part, An 0-1 start is forgivable. Lose your first two against inferior competition, and there are serious questions to be had about LIU’s mindset and focus level following a tumultuous offseason.
  • What’s Wrong with North Texas? People were legitimately peeved about the lack of television arrangements for Friday night’s Creighton-North Texas game. This was two of the nation’s best mid-major teams, or so we thought, featuring two of the nation’s best players in Doug McDermott and Tony Mitchell. What transpired was a disappointment; the Mean Green were outclassed in Omaha as McDermott legitimated his NPOY hype with a sterling 21-point, 11-rebound effort. That wasn’t a huge surprise. Monday night’s Preseason NIT defeat to Division II Alabama-Huntsville in Manhattan, Kansas, merits an entirely different analytical tone. The win by Alabama-Huntsville represents not only the first appearance by a D-II team in the PNIT, but now also the first victory.

Monday’s All-Americans.

  • Jackie Carmichael, Illinois State. The Redbirds’ star blew up for 27/10/3 assts in only 24 minutes of action as his team destroyed UC Santa Barbara in its season opener.
  • Anthony Bennett, UNLV (NPOY). Quite a debut Monday night for the precocious Bennett, who dropped 22/7/2 blks in a mere 20 minutes of action as UNLV routed Northern Arizona.
  • Garrick Sherman, Notre Dame. The reserve big man for the Irish went for 22/9 including six offensive boards in Notre Dame’s crushing win over Monmouth.
  • Glenn Robinson III, Michigan. So far, so good for the Big Puppy, as Robinson has only missed three shots in two games this season after his 21/6 night on 8-9 shooting in a win over IUPUI.
  • Kadeem Batts, Providence. A 27-point, nine-rebound night for the junior big man looking to break out in a big way this season for Ed Cooley’s Friars.

Dunkdafied. This was from late last week, but it’s worth showing here. Detroit’s Doug Anderson looked a little like Scottie Pippen on this swoop to the hoop…

Share this story

Morning Five: 10.09.12 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on October 9th, 2012

  1. With the season now rapidly approaching, the CBSSports.com guys have moved away from interviewing anonymous coaches about their perceptions on cheating and whatnot to doing some bona fide analysis. On Monday, the group released its four All-America teams and two All-Freshman teams for the 2012-13 season, with UCLA and Ohio State the big winners. The Bruins and Buckeyes each placed two players among the list of 20, as UCLA’s Baby Bruins (Shabazz Muhammad – first team; Kyle Anderson – fourth team) and OSU’s Junior League (DeShaun Thomas and Aaron Craft – both third team) were selected. The first team other than Muhammad includes Indiana’s Cody Zeller (also their NPOY), Creighton’s Doug McDermott, Murray State’s Isaiah Canaan, and Missouri’s Phil Pressey. A good list, yes, but we probably would have gone with Michigan’s Trey Burke at the point guard slot, even as much as we love the spectacular dime-master Pressey.
  2. The same guys were certainly busy Sunday night, as CBSSports.com on Monday also released its top 100 players in college basketball for the coming season. We’ve mentioned before just how much of an exercise in futility it is to distinguish between, for example, the 37th best and 38th best players in America, but the list is always a fun jumping-off point to spur discussion. Some of the stratifications of their list are interesting, with only 12 players entering as incoming freshmen while a total of 56 of the chosen players are upperclassmen (juniors and seniors). Additionally, over a quarter of their selections (28) were from non-power conferences while the Big Ten and Big 12 tied for the most players from a single conference, each with 14.  For what it’s worth, their top five players closely mirrors their AA team (with one difference), but take a look at it and see who you think is vastly over- or under-rated or who they left off the list.
  3. There was some interesting news out of the NEC yesterday, as two-time defending champion LIU announced that the four players who were involved in a campus altercation last month that resulted in third-degree assault charges were reinstated. The players, including NEC POY Julian Boyd and fellow first-teamer Jamal Olaswere, will be placed on probation by the school and forced to sit out the first two NEC games next season. The standard remedial measures of anger management counseling and community service were added to their punishments, but we’re guessing that more than a few of the other schools in the NEC are rolling their eyes at the rather convenient outcome decided by school administrators.
  4. Speaking of rolling your eyes, Bob Knight is building a cottage industry with his multitude of enemies within college basketball, which wouldn’t be a problem if he weren’t acting as an ESPN analyst/personality who is paid handsomely to give his blustery opinions on a regular basis. Everyone knows the story about his tacit refusal to acknowledge #1 Kentucky last season, and apparently he’s moving on to this year’s likely preseason #1 with an equal amount of tenacity. According to WDRB.com‘s Rick Bozich and Eric Crawford, here’s a recent answer Knight gave in an interview where Indiana was mentioned as a possible title contender: “I have no idea [about Indiana]. I can’t even begin to talk to you about teams because I haven’t seen anybody play yet. Next question.” Ever the charmer, Knight.
  5. John Calipari has spent nearly as much time improving the overall marketability and cool factor of his program as he has working on the x’s and o’s on the practice court. World famous rappers such as Jay-Z and Drake have becomes friends of the program, occasionally stopping by the locker room and attending games, with the obvious outcome that young studs around the country who idolize those artists will notice. On Monday a video by a Massacusetts-based artist named Henry Ogirri went viral within the Big Blue Nation (and by proxy, the college basketball universe) with his new release about the Wildcat basketball team called “Drive for 9.” As many others have already noted yesterday, every team can use a catchy anthem to rally the players and fans throughout the season, and this one appears to have already taken hold among the UK faithful. Have a look and listen…

Share this story

Checking In On… the NEC

Posted by rtmsf on February 18th, 2012

Ray Floriani is the RTC correspondent for the MAAC and NEC conferences.

Reader’s Take

 

Opening Tip

A week to go. Barring upsets, LIU Brooklyn appears set for the top seed. They own a one-game lead over Wagner but swept the Seahawks in their two meetings. In the postseason tournament, don’t count out Danny  Hurley’s club. Nor Robert Morris or St. Francis (NY). Yes, one more week before the fun really starts.

Standings

Team, NEC record, overall record:

LIU 14-1, 20-7
Wagner 13-2, 22-4
Robert Morris 11-4, 20-8
St. Francis (NY) 11-4, 14-12
Quinnipiac 8-7, 15-11
Central Connecticut St. 8-7, 11-14
Sacred Heart 7-8, 13-15
Monmouth 7-8, 9-19
Mount St. Mary’s 5-10, 7-19
St. Francis (PA) 4-11, 5-21
Fairleigh Dickinson 1-14, 2-24
Bryant 1-14, 2-25

Notables

NEC Co-Players of the Week:

  • Jamal Olasewere, LIU, 6’7″, Jr., F– Averaged 26.5 points and 11 rebounds. Posted his eighth double-double of the season with a 21-point, 11-rebound outing in the win over St. Francis (NY) at Madison Square Garden.

Jamal Olasewere (ball) Had An Outstanding Week (AP)

  • Shane Gibson, Sacred Heart, 6’2″, Jr., G – Averaged 32 points while shooting a blistering 63% from the field. Gibson hit 30 points in the first meeting with Bryant which also allowed him to break the single season scoring record (542 points) for Sacred Heart since they moved to Division I.

NEC Rookie of the-Week:

Ousmane Drame, Quinnipiac, 6’9″, Fr., F – Averaged a solid nine points, eight rebounds and two blocks in a 2-0 week for the Bobcats. Drame has averaged 10.4 rebounds over the last six games and is seventh in the NEC (7.3 RPG) in that category.

Team Recaps

  1. LIU Brooklyn – Swept rival and Brooklyn neighbor St. Francis (NY).  Blackbirds have won five straight and 14 of the last 15 in the series. Julian Boyd had double-doubles in both games. Jamal Olasewere was named MVP of the Battle of Brooklyn for his career high 32 points. Blackbirds are second in the nation with 28.2 free throw attempts per game.
  2. Wagner – Continued the winning ways by sweeping Mount St. Mary’s. Seahawks hit the 20-win mark for the sixth time in the school’s 91-year basketball history. Wagner also clinched a playoff berth and guaranteed a first round home game. Jonathon Williams led Wagner with a 16.5 points per game and shot 72% shooting from the floor. Senior Tyler Murray also contributed a 12.5 PPG week. Read the rest of this entry »
Share this story

Checking In On… the NEC

Posted by rtmsf on February 3rd, 2012

Ray Floriani is the RTC correspondent for the MAAC and NEC conferences.

Reader’s Take

 

Opening Tip

The general consensus is that LIU Brooklyn and Wagner are the top two teams in the conference. With less than a month remaining in the regular season, however, there are five programs with a legitimate shot at the top. Keep an eye on LIU vs. St. Francis (NY) at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday. It is a St. Francis “home” game and it gives the Terriers another opportunity to achieve a statement victory.

Standings

Team, MAAC record, overall record:

LIU 10-1, 16-7
Wagner 9-2, 18-4
St. Francis (NY) 9-2, 12-10
Robert Morris 7-4, 16-8
Central Connecticut St. 7-4, 10-11
Quinnipiac 5-6, 12-10
Monmouth 5-6, 7-17
Sacred Heart 4-7, 10-14
Mount St. Mary’s 4-7, 6-16
St. Francis (PA) 4-7, 5-17
Fairleigh Dickinson 1-10, 2-20
Bryant 1-10, 2-21

 

NEC Player of the Week:

Shane Gibson, Sacred Heart, 6’2″, Jr., G – Averaged 30.5 points per game last week to increase his NEC scoring average to 21.6 points per game. Gibson shot 51% from the field and added 5.0 rebounds and 2.5 steals for the Pioneers in their two games. Gibson ranks fourth nationally in scoring and is averaging 26.1 points in NEC action.

Sacred Heart's Shane Gibson Is Making A Great Case For Player of the Year (AP)

NEC Rookie of the Week:

Ousmane Drame, Quinnipiac, 6’9″, Fr., F – Averaged 8.5 points, and12 rebounds for the week. Drame posted career-highs with 13 points and 15 rebounds in a comeback overtime win over Mount St. Mary’s.

Team Overviews

  1. LIU Brooklyn – On the conference’s “Western” swing, the Blackbirds lost at Robert Morris and defeated St. Francis (PA). Before that loss to Robert Morris, LIU had won 18 (21 including the tournament) straight NEC games dating back to last season. Julian Boyd scored 25 points and  added 12 rebounds against the Colonials. Jamal Olasewere enjoyed his seventh double-double of the season with a 26-point, 10-rebound outing at St. Francis. Jason Brickman added 12 assists. Read the rest of this entry »
Share this story

Checking In On… the NEC

Posted by rtmsf on January 21st, 2012

Ray Floriani is the RTC correspondent for the MAAC and NEC conferences.

Reader’s Take

 

Looking Back

There is still over half a conference season to play. But, on Saturday on Staten Island, a very important and interesting matchup is on tap: Long Island Brooklyn versus Wagner. The two met in Brooklyn in December with the Blackbirds earning a narrow 78-73 victory. Since then, Jim Ferry’s club has captured nine of 11 and is unblemished in NEC play. Meanwhile, Wagner has won nine of its last 10. Included are victories at Pitt and the championship of the Cable Car Classic. The only setback for Danny Hurley’s group was a one-point loss to a good Lehigh team in early December. Yes, an enticing meeting and somehow we get the feeling it just might not be  the last between these teams this season.

NEC Co-Players of the Week

  • Julian Boyd, LIU, 6’7″, Jr., F: Boyd hit his 1,000th career point and led the way with 21 points average per game as the Blackbirds swept their two NEC games to move into sole possession of first place. Boyd highlighted the week, scoring 28 points adding eight rebounds in the win over Monmouth.
  • Shane Gibson, Sacred Heart, 6’2″, Jr., G: The NEC’s leading scorer, Gibson averaged 27.5 points per game for the week. In a win at St. Francis (PA), Gibson scored 26 points but showed his versatility with five steals and five rebounds. Gibson also had seven 3’s and 29 points against Robert Morris.

Julian Boyd Will Be A Key Player In LIU's Big Tilt Against Wagner

NEC Rookie-of-the-Week

Jalen Cannon, St. Francis (NY), 6’6″, Fr., F: Averaged 11.5 points and 12 rebounds as the Terriers swept their NEC opposition. St. Francis has won four of five since Cannon was inserted into the starting lineup.

Standings

Team, MAAC record, overall record:

LIU 7-0, 13-6
Wagner 6-1, 15-3
Central Connecticut 6-1, 9-8
Robert Morris 5-2, 14-6
St. Francis (NY) 5-2, 8-10
Sacred Heart 3-4, 9-11
St. Francis (PA) 3-4, 4-14
Quinnipiac 2-5, 9-9
Mount St. Mary’s 2-5, 4-14
Monmouth 2-5, 4-16
Bryant 1-6, 2-16
Fairleigh Dickinson 0-7, 1-17

 

Power Rankings

  1. LIU Brooklyn – Earned a sweep over FDU and Monmouth. Blackbirds have won 16 consecutive conference games dating back to last season and have captured 22 of their last 23 in the NEC. Julian Boyd had an outstanding week earning Co-Player of the Week honors. C.J. Garner, a junior guard, set career highs with nine rebounds against FDU and eight assists versus Monmouth. Read the rest of this entry »
Share this story

Past Imperfect: Richie Parker’s 15 Minutes of Infamy

Posted by JWeill on December 29th, 2011

Past Imperfect is a series focusing on the history of the game. Every two weeks, RTC contributor Joshua Lars Weill (@AgonicaBoss|Email) highlights some piece of historical arcana that may (or may not) be relevant to today’s college basketball landscape. This week: the saga of New York City prep star and convicted felon Richie Parker.

There was never any middle ground when it came to Richie Parker. Either he was a criminal, a thug who represented everything wrong with the college game – that “win at all costs” mentality – or he was a kid who made a mistake he was overpaying for, a victim of a system rigged to punish and punish again a repentant man, no, a kid because of intense media pressure and political pressure and just flat out pressure.

So which was it? Was he trouble, a felon who shouldn’t be given chances that wouldn’t have been afforded a kid who couldn’t run, dunk and shoot a basketball like he could, or was he the quiet kid without a speck of bad behavior before who lost his senses for fifteen minutes on Jan. 13, 1995, in a high school stairwell when he and a friend intimidated a freshman classmate into performing oral sex?

Or could he be both? Or neither? Everyone had an opinion.

Parker's saga was a Sports Illustrated cover story in 1996.

Tabloids put the story on the cover and sports talk shows had a field day. Women penned editorials detailing their own stories of rape and abuse to show that no matter how repentant Parker was he would never have to suffer the lifelong fate of his victim. Some spoke movingly of second chances and of the mistakes they’d made. Women’s groups around the country mobilized. The victim’s family eventually publicly forgave him. Everyone had a stake, and everyone had firm convictions. And caught in the middle was Parker: 6’5”, athletic, shy, the eye of a storm all about him.

In June, Parker apologized to his victim, pleaded guilty to felony sexual abuse and was sentenced to five years probation and counseling, but that did nothing to quell the furor. Far from it. Now he was officially a felon. The school he’d accepted a scholarship promise from, Seton Hall, reneged on its offer under pressure. Wouldn’t be the right message to send, its president said. George Washington University, whose progressive and creative president offered a scholarship to both Parker and the victim, eventually also caved to intense dissatisfaction from alumni, trustees and student groups outraged by the possibility of a sex offender gaining admittance to their institution. Utah and Oral Roberts and Fresno State and Southern Cal backed off even sooner, the moment administration officials were tipped off of their coaches’ interest in Parker, usually by tabloid reporters like Barry Baum of the New York Post, who made his name breaking Parker stories that year. People lost jobs over Richie Parker.

Ultimately, there were no basketball options left for him after his plea deal. No administration was willing to have its reputation sullied in the press for admitting the radioactive Parker. And the press kept finding out who was interested and with a single phone call would end that interest immediately: ‘Did you know your coaches are recruiting a sex felon?’ Parker’s mother, Rosita, suffered chest pains from all the stress. Parker simply kept staring at his shoes, his once bright future vanishing before him because of those impulsive, those irrational, 15 minutes in the stairwell, a quiet kid now retreating further into his shell.

Rob Standifer, the coach at Mesa Community College in Arizona, took a chance on Parker. But while Parker flew out west, Mesa athletic department and  administration officials learned about him at the last minute and balked. Standifer was forced to resign. The school did allow Parker to matriculate but he couldn’t play ball. But after everything he’d been through, that was OK with Parker. Out there, far away from the turmoil of the city he’d been a basketball star in, he could work on his grades and keep in shape, all with the faint hope that someday he would get the chance to play college basketball, other than the NBA the only thing he’d ever really wanted.

Read the rest of this entry »

Share this story

Checking in on… the NEC

Posted by Brian Goodman on January 2nd, 2011

Ray Floriani of College Chalk Talk is the RTC correspondent for the NEC and MAAC conferences.

A Look Back

The last of the non-conference games are being contested. Just after the ball drops at Times Square, well a few days after, the Northeast Conference gets into high gear. Given some of the road games and arduous early season schedules it is often difficult to get a totally accurate read on a club. One certainty is Quinnipiac seems to be a step ahead of the competition at this point. In the course of the weeks ahead things can, and often do, change.

Power Rankings

1. Quinnipiac: (1-0, 9-2 overall) Defeated Rhode Island at home and Niagara on the road. Bobcats enjoy a healthy +9 efficiency margin. OE is 105 while the defensive efficiency is a tidy 96.  OREB percentage is a major asset for Quinnipiac. Their OREB percentage is an outstanding 44% while the opposition checks in at 29%. Bobcats have been under 100 OE only three times this season, two of those games resulted in close losses to Vermont and UMass.

Notable: Bobcats receive a boost when 6’6 freshman Trevor Baskin gains eligibility this week. Senior forward Justin Rutty is the NEC’s active scoring leader with 1,305 points.

2. St. Francis (NY): (2-0, 7-5 overall) Dropped games to Northwestern and Davidson at the MSG Holiday Festival at Madison Square Garden. Terriers have a good defensive efficiency of 98 and are forcing opponents into a 25% TO rate. Moreover, they recorded only an 81 OE in the 92-61 loss to Northwestern, their second lowest of the season.

Notable: Senior guard Ricky Cadell earned all-tournament honors at the MSG Holiday Festival. Cadell had a game-high 21 points in the consolation loss to Davidson.

3. Fairleigh Dickinson: (2-0, 3-7) Lost in state contests at Rutgers and St. Peter’s. The Knights enjoy a 2-0 conference record. However, there is a need for improvement on both ends of the floor. OE is 92, a 43% eFG and 22% TO rate are main reasons. On the defensive end, the DE mark is 105. The tough non-conference slate is part of the reason for these numbers. In the two NEC games, FDU’s efficiency numbers are 102 on offense and 93 on defense.

Notable: Senior guard Mike Scott tied a career high with 23 points against Rutgers. Scott went 11-11 from the line against Mike Rice’s team.

4. Wagner: (1-0, 5-7 overall) Dropped games with Princeton and at Texas A&M. OE is 92, but the main problem is the offensive boards. Seahawks’ OREB percentage is 20% while opponents dominate with a 36% showing in the same category. Against the Aggies, an 86-51 setback, Wagner posted a season-low 73 OE.

Notable: Naofall Folahan – The 6’11 freshman center, scored a career high 19 points and rejected seven shots in the loss to Princeton. Folahan captured NEC Rookie of the Week honors.

5. LIU: (1-1, 7-4 overall) Split two games, losing at Northwestern before heading home to defeat Army. Blackbirds’ ‘NASCAR’ pace of 75 possessions suits their personnel fine. OE is a gaudy 107. DE a fair mark of 99. LIU is shooting a 51eFG mark. The only area begging for improvement offensively is the 22% TO rate.

Notable: LIU had seven players in double figures against Army. Jason Brickman, a freshman guard, scored a career high 11 points while equaling his collegiate best of seven assists.

6. Robert Morris: (1-1, 4-8 overall) Mired in a three-game skid after dropping games on the road to Appalachian State and Arizona. Colonials continue to defend with a creditable 98 DE. Offense has sputtered. OE is 94 and in 11 games, the mark has been over 100 only twice. A 45% eFG mark on offense is a major setback.

Notable: Redshirt sophomore forward Russell Johnson hit for 26 points at Appalachian State. Johnson was 11-18 from the floor and 4-8 beyond the arc.

7. Central Connecticut: (1-1, 7-5 overall) Dropped a heartbreaker at Albany before defeating Niagara at home. Defense forced the Great Danes into a 33% TO rate and Niagara into 25% in the same category. On their own end, Central is committing turnovers at a 22% rate but showed only 16% in that win over Niagara. Offensive efficiency of 104 against Niagara, was the Blue Devils third best all season.

Notable: Ken Horton posted a 25 points and ten boards in the win against Niagara. It was Horton’s third 20-point game of the season.

8. Mount St. Mary’s: (1-1, 3-11 overall) Dropped a home game to American and road meetings with Northwestern and Vermont. Efficiency margin is a -11. OE is 92 but the defense is an above average 103. Mount is committing turnovers, 21 % TO rate and not forcing enough on defense as the opposition rate is 19%. Boards are a concern as well. The OREB percentage is 29% compared to opponents’ 39%.

Notable: Sophomore forward Raven Barber shot 9-10 in a loss to Albany. Barber scored 20 points and leads in the NEC with a 66% field goal percentage.

9. Monmouth: (0-1, 4-9) Dropped games to Rutgers and Rider. The Hawks’ offensive efficiency is 91 for the season, but against Rider (77) and Rutgers (85) came a pair of sub par offensive performances. Pace is still one of the most deliberate rates around, at 65 per game. A 46% eFG percentage and 23% TO rate are the main problems with the offense.

Notable: Senior swingman R.J. Rutlegde scored a team-best 17 points with a career high five treys in the loss to Rutgers.

10. Bryant: (0-1, 2-11) Dropped a tough one at Columbia before losing another road game at Boston College. Offensive efficiency is a season high 115 at BC. On the flip side, they gave up a season high efficiency of 139 to the Eagles. Turnovers were a big story in the 93-77 loss at BC. Bryant’s TO rate was 25% while the Eagles were at only 8%. Bulldogs enjoyed a 46% offensive rebounding percentage against BC, their best showing in that category to date.

Notable: Freshman guard Matt Lee scored a career high 15 points against Boston College in his first career start.

11. Sacred Heart: (0-2, 4-8 overall) Split road games winning at Yale and losing at Providence. Last three games the OE has been over 100. On the season the efficiency is 91,. A 45% eFG percentage and 24% TO rate are largely responsible. DE is a respectable 99. Pioneers are forcing opposing offenses into a 23% TO rate.

Notable: Shane Gibson – The 6’2 sophomore guard scored a career high 23 points while adding eight rebounds in the win over Yale. Gibson earned NEC Player of the Week honors. Gibson sank five treys in the win at Yale.

12. St. Francis (PA): (0-1, 2-10 overall) Dropped a close (61-57) one to Drexel but were routed at Cincinnati. The Red Flash have had four games over 100 OE, but on the season, they check in at a rather subpar 89.  A 25% TO rate is a glaring problem. Defensively, the 108 (only three opponents were held under 100 OE) surrendered needs improving as conference play unfolds.

Notable: Senior forward Mislaw Jukic tied a season high with 21 points in the loss to Lehigh.

A Look Ahead

January 2

  • Robert Morris at Ohio University
  • Mount St. Mary’s at Virginia Tech

January 3

  • UMass at Central Connecticut
  • Bryant at Monmouth
  • Wagner at Quinnipiac

January 6

  • Quinnipiac at Monmouth
  • St. Francis (PA) at Mount St. Mary’s
  • LIU at Bryant
  • Robert Morris at Wagner
  • St. Francis (NY) at Central Connecticut
  • Sacred Heart at FDU
Share this story

Checking in on… the NEC

Posted by Brian Goodman on November 27th, 2010

Ray Floriani of College Chalk Talk is the RTC correspondent or the MAAC and NEC.

A Look Back

The NEC conference schedule actually tips off before Thanksgiving leftovers are gone. Due to a scheduling quirk, Central Connecticut hosts Monmouth on November in the NEC opener. It all finishes an interesting November which saw a few surprises and strong showings by NEC clubs. Not to mention a 6 and 8 AM contest.

Player of the Week

Ken Horton, Central Connecticut – Averaged 29 points, 10 rebounds and shot 66% from the floor for the two contests. Horton scored a career high 34 points while adding 9 boards in the win at Army.

Co-Rookies of the Week

Alex Francis, Bryant – Scored 19 points with 8 rebounds in a loss to Army.

Julian Norfleet, Mount St. Mary’s – The 6’1 guard averaged 11.5 PPG, 3.5 APG and committed just one turnover in 75 minutes of action. His three treys sparked the Mount’s first win of the season.

Power Rankings

  1. LIU (4-0) – Has hopes of an NEC title this season and the Blackbirds got off on a positive note. They defeated Texas State (91-67) and Manhattan (91-80) to finish with a perfect first week. Senior guard Kyle Johnson, a key figure in the LIU attack, averaged 18 PPG for the two games. Sophomore forward Kenny Onyechi had an impressive 18 point 11 rebound (both career highs) effort at Manhattan.
  2. CCSU (3-1) – Earned a pair of road wins over Army (101-87) and UMBC (82-74) to advance to 3-0. It marks Central’s best start since 1998-99 and it was the first time in three years the Blue Devils scored over 80 points in back to back contests. Shemik Thompson scored his 1,000th career point against UMBC. Ken Horton is back in the groove as a key contributor after missing last season with an injury.
  3. Quinnipiac (3-1) – Defeated Harvard (66-64) before dropping a 79-75 squeaker to Vermont. James Johnson, a junior guard, led the way with 20 PPG for the week. Senior forward Justin Rutty was a major contributor as well with a double-double average for the two contests.  Rutty averaged 14.5 PPG and 10.5 RPG and has 32 career double-doubles.
  4. Wagner (2-1) – Embarked on an NBA-style seven game road trip with a split. Seahawks lost (73-57) at Lehigh, the defending Patriot League champions before earning a 58-54 decision at Stony Brook. Junior guard Tyler Murray has been an early season revelation. He leads the Seahawks in scoring (19 PPG) and he shot seven of nine from beyond the arc in the win at Stony Brook.
  5. Monmouth (1-1) – Earned a split dropping a 51-49 decision to Stony Brook in the 6 AM game, part of ESPN’s Marathon. The Hawks came back to edge Lehigh 69-68. Sophomore forward Ed Waite had a pair of strong performances with 13 rebounds in the opener and 20 points against Lehigh. Freshman guard Jordan Davis had a noteworthy six assist/no turnover outing against Lehigh.
  6. Robert Morris (2-2) – The Colonials a tough one (62-59) to Kent State as part of the ESPN Marathon before coming back to defeat Duquesne 69-63. Sophomore guard Karon Abraham continues his fine scoring.  He averaged 14 PPG for the week highlighted by 15 over Duquesne. Robert Morris is giving up a stingy 51.7 PPG.
  7. St. Francis (PA) (2-2) – Faced three Patriot League squads. The Red Flash defeated Colgate and Bucknell while losing to Lafayette. Sophomore guard Umar Shannon with a career high 23 points, ignited a late run to defeat Colgate. St. Francis trailed by seven with three minutes to play before rallying for a 69-66 victory. Sophomore forward Will Felder had a solid and consistent week highlighted by a career high 21 points and nine boards against the Bison.
  8. St. Francis (NY) (1-2) – Dropped a three point game to South Florida before defeating Howard 70-52. Senior guard Akeem Bennett scored the first 11 points of the Howard game, finishing with 19. Fellow senior guard Ricky Cadell was on fire in Tampa. Against USF, he scored 28 points (six of nine from three) as the Terriers battled South Florida to the wire.
  9. Bryant (1-3) – Lost the lone game of the week, 76-66 to Army. Bryant led with five minutes to play before the Cadets made a late run to pull away. Young players made the mark as Freshman forward Alex Francis and sophomore guard Frankie Dobbs had 19 points apiece against Army. Already one win is already in the books, a last-second triumph over Iona at the World Vision Classic in Cleveland.
  10. Mount St. Mary’s (1-3) – Defeated Savannah State (68-62 in OT) for the first win under new coach Robert Burke. Senior forward Shawn Atupen has hit double figures in scoring all three games. Mount received clutch outside shooting from NEC Co-Rookie of the Week Julian Norfleet in the win over Savannah State.
  11. Sacred Heart (1-4) – Defeated New Hampshire 50-42 to snap a four game losing streak and post win number one of the season. Guard play has been the Pioneers’ main source of offense to date. Redshirt sophomore guard Shane Gibson and senior Jerrell Thompson are both averaging double figures. Freshman guard Evan Kelley shooting 55% (6-11) from three has provided significant minutes in relief.
  12. Fairleigh Dickinson (0-2) – Dropped the first two games of the season to Stony Brook (66-59) and Albany (72-46) both at home. The Knights’ problems centered on a basic fundamental – Shooting. Over the two games their combined field goal percentage was 31%. Senior guard Mike Scott, an all-NEC pick pre-season, was the lone marksman of note for FDU. Scott averaged 21.5 PPG on 49% shooting from the floor.

 

 

 

Tempo Free

  • The note that Robert Morris is playing great defense because they surrender  just 51.7 PPG almost had this correspondent salivating. Stats like this require a quick visit to statsheet.com or bbstate.com for a closer look. On Stat Sheet, it was revealed the Colonials’ defensive efficiency was 85, an excellent mark. The Robert Morris pace is 67 possessions per game, not exactly walking it up the floor. The offense needs to be addressed a bit, as the efficiency on that side is a bit subpar at 88. An eFG% mark of 38.7 seems to be the major culprit.
  • Last year, Bryant was 1-29. This year, the Bulldogs are 1-3. They still give up too much defensively (113.6 Defensive Efficiency to date). On the other hand, points are coming a little easier. A year ago, Bryant had an 81 offensive efficiency rating in NEC play. To date, no conference games have been contested, but the Bulldogs show an OE of 90, A significant improvement.

A Look Ahead

The NEC gets an early start on conference play, while some teams continue the pursuit of strong turns in the non-con.

 

November 27 – LIU at St.Peter’s

November 28- Bryant at Lehigh

November 29 – Wagner at Bucknell; Robert Morris at Cleveland State; Central Connecticut at Providence; Monmouth at Davidson; Navy at Mount St. Mary’s

December 1 – UMass at Quinnipiac; Bryant at Fairleigh Dickinson; Robert Morris at LIU

Share this story

Checking in on… the NEC

Posted by rtmsf on February 21st, 2010

Ray Floriani of College Chalktalk is the RTC correspondent for the MAAC and NEC conferences.

LYNDHURST, NJ – Robert Morris holds only a one-game lead over Quinnipiac after the win by the visiting team over the weekend. If Quinnipiac can win their final two and RMU loses one more game this upcoming week, the Bobcats would get the tiebreaker by virtue of the sole win between the two this year.

*note: standings prior to Saturday 2/20 games.

Co-Players of the week:

  • Kelly Biedler, F, Mount St. Mary’s – Averaged 15.5 points, 10 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game in a pair of road victories. Shot 56% from the field and was 4 of 9 from three point range on the week. Had 14 boards and 3 blocks in the win at Monmouth.
  • James Johnson, G, Quinnipiac –  Averaged 20 points and 3 assists as Quinnipiac clinched its fifth straight NEC tournament berth. Scored a career-high 23 points in the win over LIU. Has started the first 56 games of his Quinnipiac career, second longest streak in the school’s Division I history.

Rookie of the Week:

  • Will Felder, F, St. Francis (PA) – Averaged 12.5 points,7.5 rebounds and shot 53% from the floor in two Red Flash victories. Hit a key three pointer and grabbed a crucial rebound in the stretch of the two point victory at CCSU.

MILESTONES and NOTES:

  • Joe Seymore became the 31st player in Central Connecticut history to score 1,000 career points.
  • Justin Rutty of Quinnipiac and LIU’s Kyle Johnson also hit their 1000th point. Membership in the NEC’s all-time 1000 point club is now at 164. The league began operations back in 1981.
  • League history was also impacted recently. On January 17, 1987, Robert Morris held St. Francis (NY) to 34 points. That record stood until very recently. And it was matched twice. Last week St. Francis (PA) defeated Bryant 60-34. Ironically that came a week after CCSU also defeated Bryant by that same score.
  • Dave Calloway is now the winningest Monmouth coach in NEC play. Calloway has 122 victories . Calloway surpassed his former college coach Wayne Szoke to grab the top spot.
  • Junior guard Shemick Thompson recently moved into seventh place in CCSU’s all time list of assist leaders.
  • Sacred Heart senior guard Ryan Litke is now  on the top ten NEC list for career three point field goals made. Litke has 262 trifectas… and counting.
  • Much has been written and chronicled here regarding Jeremy Goode’s move up the assist and scoring ladder. The Mount St. Mary’s senior sensation recently cracked another top ten list. Goode is now number nine on the all time steals chart and has a chance to move up a few more notches.
  • Robert Morris is now second in most overall wins over a five-year span. The Colonials have 100 wins from 2005-10 (and one assumes they aren’t done yet). The leader is FDU with 102 wins from 1984-89.

Team Breakdowns

  • Bryant – Went 0-2 for the week. Bulldogs threw a scare into league leader Robert Morris. Bryant led by five with just over 12 minutes remaining but could not hold on. Freshman forward Vlad Kondratyev led the way for Bryant with a 15-point effort. Shooting 45% from the floor Bryant  went into the half tied with Robert Morris but the shooting percentage fell the second half as the Colonials earned the 52-42 victory.
  • Central Connecticut – Dropped a pair at home losing to Robert Morris and St.Francis (PA). Senior guard Joe Seymore, the only starter to reach double figures, scored 11 against St. Francis. CCSU had been 6-2 at home and won four straight prior to the two losses. Blue Devils are 2-10 on the road but both wins were in NEC action. CCSU continues to lead the NEC I scoring defense allowing 63.9 PPG. They will need it with the next two games on the road.
  • FDU – Went 1-2 on the week. The Knights lost an out of conference game to Longwood before defeating Wagner and losing to Mount St.Mary’s. Four FDU players averaged double-figures last week. Senior guard Sean Baptiste averaged 22.3 PPG for the week to pace FDU. Mike Scott had 22 assists on the week. The Longwood game was FDU’s first loss when they outshot their opposition. The 83-81 loss was also the Knight’s first when they eclipsed the 80-point mark.
  • LIU – Defeated Sacred Heart and lost to Quinnipiac. Kyle Johnson, a junior guard, had his fifth twenty point outing of the year with a career high 26 points at Sacred Heart. LIU had a season low 6 turnovers against Sacred Heart. LIU also canned 10 straight free throws down the stretch to ice the win. The 80-72 loss to Quinnipiac was typically tough as 10 of the last 11 meetings in the series have been decided by fewer than 10 points. LIU out rebounded Quinnipiac, a tough team under the glass,  39-38.
  • Monmouth – Split home games losing to Mount St. Mary’s and defeating Wagner. Monmouth already surpassed its overall (8) and NEC (6) win total from last year. Travis Taylor returned to the lineup after a seven-game team suspension with a 30 point, 8 rebound effort against Wagner. Hawks were 26 of 31 from the line in that meeting as well. Freshman forward Ed Waite had a notable week averaging 10 PPG and 6.5 RPG.
  • Mount St. Mary’s - Extended the win streak to six games with wins at Monmouth and FDU. The Mount seniors, Jeremy Goode, Kelly Biedler and Will Holland all had a significant hand in not just the two games last week, but the half dozen wins in recent weeks. During the recent surge, defense has been a key. Opponents are shooting 35% from the field and 23% beyond the arc. Mount has held five opponents during the six game streak to 56 points or less. Mountaineers have won 15 of last 16 NEC contests at home. A significant note as MSM closes with four straight at friendly Knott Arena.
  • Quinnipiac – Swept home games against St. Francis (NY) and LIU. Sophomore guard James Johnson had a big week for the Bobcats. Junior forward James Rutty continued his outstanding play a little closer to the basket. Rutty averaged 12.5 PPG and 9.5 RPG for the week. Rutty leads the NEC and is 15th nationally with 10.4 RPG. Quinnipiac was more than Johnson and Rutty as senior guards James Feldeine and Jeremy Baker and junior forward Jonathan Cruz all contributed.  Bobcats were outrebounded in the win over LIU 39-38 but it was the first time in 24 games an opponent beat them on the boards.
  • Robert Morris – Lost a nonconference meeting at Pitt then defeated Central Connecticut and Bryant. The conference wins clinched an NEC tournament berth and extended the conference win streak to eleven. The win over CCSU also guaranteed Robert Morris its fifth straight winning season. Freshman guard Karon Abraham and senior forward Rob Robinson had consistently note worth weeks for the Colonials. Abraham was 15 of 17 from the line the two games. Robert Morris has held nine straight NEC opponents to under 70 points.
  • Sacred Heart – Split home games losing to LIU and defeating St.Francis (NY). SHU has beaten the Terriers four straight and six of the last seven. Senior center Liam Potter posted his seventh double-double of the season with a 10 point, 10 rebound effort in the win. Potter also set the school’s Division I record with 17 rebounds in the loss to LIU. Sacred Heart leads the NEC and ranks sixth nationally with 9.2 three pointers a game. Seniors forward Corey Hassan and guard Ryan Litke are the Pioneers’ main threats beyond the arc.
  • St. Francis (NY) – Dropped decisions to Quinnipiac and Sacred Heart. Terriers have now lost five of their last six and are descending in the NEC standings. Average margin in those losses has been 11.8 points per outing. St.Francis went a combined 7 of 40 (18%) from three point range last week. In the two losses last week St. Francis held first half leads before the hosts responded with significant runs of their own. In fact the first twenty minutes have been consistently unkind to the Terriers as they failed to score 30 points in the first half in 12 of their last 13 games.
  • St. Francis (PA) – Swept Bryant and CCSU. The road wins ended a 23-game losing streak away from home that included 17 straight NEC contests. Senior forward Devin Sweetney and freshman forward Will Felder had big weeks for the Red Flash. The victories were also the first back to back road wins since the 2003 season. The 60-34 win at Bryant marked the lowest point total allowed by St. Francis since 1974. Bryant shot 28% from the field in that meeting. Red Flash exceeded hits highest win total (8) of the previous four seasons with their two game sweep.
  • Wagner – Dropped road contests in the ’Garden State’ losing to FDU and Monmouth. Freshman guard Danny Mundweiler buried six treys for a career high 18 points at FDU.  Mundweiler then followed up with a 14 point effort at Monmouth. Top scorer Chris Martin missed the FDU game with a twisted ankle. In his absence sophomore guard Tyler Murray had a career high 17 point effort. Martin saw limited action in the loss at Monmouth.

On the Schedule

February 25

  • LIU- CCSU
  • St. Francis (NY)- Bryant
  • FDU – Sacred Heart

February 27

  • Robert Morris – Mount St. Mary’s
  • St. Francis (PA) – Wagner
  • Sacred Heart – Monmouth
Share this story

Checking in on… the NEC

Posted by rtmsf on February 6th, 2010

Ray Floriani of College Chalktalk is the RTC correspondent for the MAAC and NEC conferences.

LYNDHURST, NJ – Coaches talk about separation. The ability to get stops, score on your end and open a lead on an opponent. In the NEC race Robert Morris is starting to gain that separation. The race is not over with Quinnipiac just a game behind,  but the Colonials, by virtue of a hot 9-1 January, are now on top of the NEC. Finishing in that spot would be a definite plus. The conference postseason tournament is at the higher seed’s home court throughout. Not having to leave ‘The Chuck’ (Charles Sewall Center) where Robert Morris is awfully tough to beat would be huge for Mike Rice’s club. Still, with three weeks remaining in NEC play, there is not enough time for Robert Morris to rest on its first place laurels.

Player of the Week: Devin Sweetney (SR), F, St. Francis (PA) – In a 2-0 week he averaged 25.5 PPG while collecting 8 rebounds an outing. Sweetney had 23 in the win over St. Francis (NY) and hit his third double-double of the season with a 28-point, 10-board effort in an overtime victory over LIU. Jones was instrumental in sparking a 12-2 Colonial second half run that turned the tide against the Blackbirds.

Rookie of the Week: Velton Jones (FR), G, Robert Morris – Jones became the third different Colonial in three weeks to earn this honor. Averaged 14.5 PPG while handing out 4 assists per game. Paced Robert Morris with a career high 21 points in the win over LIU.

Rivalry Week. The NEC Rivalry week called for a game February 4 and the two teams meeting at the other’s location two days later. Rivalries included FDU-Monmouth (Battle of New Jersey) , LIU-St. Francis (NY) (Battle of Brooklyn) and St. Francis (PA)- Robert Morris to name a few.

Codey Trophy. Two years ago Monmouth and FDU, recognizing their Garden State rivalry , instituted the Richard Codey Trophy. FDU won it the last two years. It goes to the school who has the best record in the head-to-head series for women’s and men’s games. In case of a tie, a total point aggregate settles the score. The trophy is named after the former Senate leader and twice acting New Jersey state governor who is an FDU (Class of ‘81) alum and has graced RTC in an article last year.

Milestones

  • Sacred Heart senior forward Corey Hassan became the sixth NEC player this year to hit the 1,000 point mark. Hassan also had ten three-pointers against Wagner which broke the school single game record of nine.
  • The Wagner-Sacred Heart matchup featured coaches with a combined 929 wins. Dave Bike of Sacred Heart has coached 32 seasons with 493 victories. Mike Deane of Wagner has 436 wins in 25 seasons. Make that 437 as the Seahawks edged Sacred Heart recently.
  • Jeremy Goode, a regular in this featured milestone category,  broke into the top ten in conference career steals. Goode, with 234 thefts, has a shot at the top five. Clear leader of the group is Robert Morris’ Chipper Harris ( 1981-84) with 382.  Goode is also fifth in NEC career assists at 560. Again, he could move up a few notches.  But the leader, Drafton Davis with 804, is quite safe. Davis played at Marist, an NEC school back then, in the early Eighties.

Team Breakdowns

  • Bryant – Dropped home games to FDU and Monmouth last week. Senior captain Chris Birrell led the way averaging 13.5 PPG for the week. Shot selection? For the two games Birrell attempted 25 shots and 24 were from beyond the arc. A little closer to the basket, freshman forward Vlad Kondratyev averaged double figures for the week and sophomore center Papa Lo blocked two shots against Monmouth and is third in the NEC in blocked shots this season.
  • Central Connecticut State – Swept Monmouth and FDU last week to get back in the thick of things. Senior guard Joe Seymore sparked the Blue Devils hitting 17.5 PPG for the week. Junior guard Shemik Thompson scored 24 versus FDU. The visiting Knights were down 19 the first half and rallied to take a lead late in the game. Thompson took over scoring eight straight and got a steal as CCSU never looked back. Thompson buried four threes and was 8 of 11 from the line.
  • FDU – Defeated Bryant and lost at Central Connecticut. The Knights shot 56% the final half at Bryant and on the defensive end held the Bulldogs to 27% shooting. Senior guard Sean Baptiste led FDU with 21 points in the CCSU game. Baptiste is the leading scorer (14.7 PPG) for the Knights who have four players averaging double figures. Senior forward Alvin Mofunanya continues his strong inside play and is closing in on 100 career blocked shots.
  • LIU- Dropped road games to Robert Morris and St. Francis (PA). Blackbirds put up some impressive numbers in those two close losses. They had a +13 rebounding edge over RMU and shot 26 of 33 (79%) from the charity stripe in the overtime loss at St. Francis (PA). The problem at Robert Morris was LIU’s season low 27% shooting from the floor. Senior guard Jaytornah Wisseh had his seventh 20-point outing during the week.
  • Monmouth – Split on the road losing to Central Connecticut while defeating Bryant. Sophomore guard Will Campbell and freshman forward Ed Waite excelled offensively for the Hawks. Campbell hit four treys in the second half in the Bryant contest. Campbell’s shooting helped the Hawks rally from an 11 point first half deficit. Junior forward Nick DelTufo had a big hand in the Bryant game as well with a career high 15 points.
  • Mount St. Mary’s – It’s been a rough go but the Mount swept the week with much needed wins over Sacred Heart and Quinnipiac. The games were at home where the Mount has now won 13 of its last 14 against NEC opposition. Junior guard Jean Cajous averaged 12 PPG and 5.5 RPG for the week. Cajous was instrumental on the defensive end as both times out he drew the opposition’s best scorer and did an admirable job. Senior guard Jeremy Goode has been lauded for his scoring and playmaking, and he is alsothe conference pace setter in steals.
  • Quinnipiac – Defeated Wagner and lost to Mount St. Mary’s. The loss at the Mount snapped the Bobcats’ eight game win streak and leaves them a game out of first. Junior forward Justin Rutty had a pair of double-doubles, giving him 21 for his career. Rutty had a 15 rebound effort, to go along with 18 points in a losing effort at the Mount. Senior guard James Feldeine paced Quinnipiac with 21 points in the win at Wagner. The Bobcats have outrebounded the opposition in every one of their 21games to date.
  • Robert Morris – Swept LIU and St. Francis (NY) to gain sole possession of first place in the conference race. The Colonials have captured seven straight and finished 9-1 for the month of January. A rookie and veteran mix, freshman guard Karon Abraham had a big week while another guard, senior Mezie Nwigwe averaged 15 PPG and 6.5 RPG for the two games. During the seven-game win streak the Colonials have surrendered only 60 points per game. A closer look shows the opposition hitting just 35% from the floor during that time. Overall, Robert Morris has an outstanding 89.0 defensive efficiency in NEC action.
  • Sacred Heart –  Dropped road games at Mount St. Mary’s and Wagner. Senior forward Corey Hassan exploded for a 28.5 PPG scoring week. Hassan added 5.5 RPG and shot 59% from the field. He scored a career high 36 points in the Wagner game. The three-point shot has been a major part of the Pioneer arsenal. They rank fourth in the country with 9.3 three pointers per game and are fifth nationally with a 40% mark from beyond the arc. Sacred Heart’s 52.6 eFG% is second in the NEC.
  • St. Francis (NY) - Dropped road games to St. Francis (PA) and Robert Morris. The Terriers had a four-game NEC win streak stopped with the 0-2 ‘Western’ swing. Sophomore guard Justin Newton is second in the conference assist/turnover ratio (1.88). Newton exited the Robert Morris game with a knee injury. In his absence junior guard Akeem Bennett will handle the point guard duties. Terriers have yet to hit 70 points this season and have an offensive efficiency of 90 (tied for second lowest) in NEC play.
  • St. Francis (PA) - Swept games over St. Francis (NY) and LIU (in overtime). That gives the Red Flash seven wins on the season and exceeds the six-win total of each of the past two years. Defense did the job against the Terriers as SFPA had 14 steals and forced 24 turnovers. Senior forward Devin Sweetney had a huge 28 point, 10 rebound performance in the win over LIU. The win over LIU was only the third this season that the Red Flash pulled out when trailing at halftime. Junior guard Sorena Orandi hit two free throws with four seconds remaining to capture the 74-73 win over LIU.
  • Wagner – Split two games, losing to Quinnipiac and edging Sacred Heart. Sophomore guard Chris Martin hit a runner in the lane with six seconds left to give the Seahawks the victory over SHU. Martin leads Wagner in scoring with 12.9 PPG. Senior center Michael Orock continues his fine inside play and leads the NEC with a 58% field goal percentage. The Seahawks have been hampered by a 26% TO RATE, the highest in the conference.  You don’t want to lead in this category.

Upcoming Games of Note

February 11

  • St. Francis (PA) at Bryant
  • Robert Morris at CCSU
  • Mount St. Mary’s at Monmouth
  • Wagner at FDU

February 13

  • Mount St. Mary’s at FDU
  • LIU at Quinnipiac
  • St. Francis (NY) at Sacred Heart
Share this story

Checking in on… the NEC

Posted by rtmsf on January 24th, 2010

Ray Floriani of College Chalktalk is the RTC correspondent for the MAAC and NEC conferences.

LYNDHURST, NJ – There is some separation between the haves and have nots,  but the group at the front is crowded. Robert Morris and Quinnipiac share the lead. Not far behind are LIU, Monmouth and a surprising St. Francis (NY). Sacred Heart is also right there only a stride behind the leaders.  There have been struggles in Emmitsburg but Mount St. Mary’s has to be watched and can’t be written off yet. Surprise on the other side is Central Connecticut. Howie Dickenman’s group is usually right in the mix. This season, to date, it’s been a rough go.

Tempo-Free. Included with the standings is a tempo-free breakdown: the average possessions per game and the efficiency margin. Thanks to Basketball State for the data and NEC games only are factored in the results.

Co-Players of the Week

  • James Feldeine (G), Quinnipiac – Averaged 18.3 PPG scoring on 60% shooting from the floor, including 8 of 13  (62%) from three point range. Highlight was a 24-point effort in a win over Bryant where Feldeine was 8 of 14 from the field.
  • Travis Taylor (F), Monmouth – Posted back to back twenty point efforts as the Hawks earned a split for two road games. Averaged 56% from the floor over the two contests. In a loss at Robert Morris, Taylor scored a team best 22 points while grabbing 12 boards in a 40-minute effort.

Rookie of the Week

  • Karon Abraham (G), Robert Morris – Averaged 20.5 PPG and 2.5 APG as the Colonials scored a pair of home victories. Scored all of his team high 20 points in the second half of an 80-73 decision over FDU.

Notable

  • Robert Morris continues its success under the guidance of Mike Rice. In his third season at Robert Morris, the Colonials are an outstanding 36-6 in conference play. The Colonials won back to back regular season titles in ‘08 and ‘09. Currently the Colonials are 6-1 in conference play with 15 straight home wins over NEC competition at their Sewall Center.
  • The NEC TV package resumes this weekend with the women’s and men’s doubleheader, Robert Morris at Monmouth. The conference has a 21-game package that concludes in march with the conference men’s and women’s championship games on ESPN2 and ESPNU, respectively.

Milestones

  • Jeremy Goode broke the all-time record for assists at Mount St. Mary’s. Goode now has 544 assists and passed Gregory Harris who had 529 during his Mount career (1996-00).
  • With 1,532 points, Goode is also one of seven NEC players to reach 1,500 points and 500 assists.
  • Dave Calloway has 165 career wins at Monmouth. He is four wins shy of passing the coach who recruited Calloway and whom he replaced, Wayne Szoke.
  • Ryan Litke of Sacred Heart hit his 100th career point at Bryant. He is the 30th Pioneer to reach that mark, the seventh since Sacred Heart went Division I.
  • James Feldeine increased his career point total to 1,086. Good for 26th on Quinnipiac’s all time list.

Team Breakdowns

  • Bryant – Dropped games to Quinnipiac and Sacred Heart and are still searching for their first victory. Bryant outshot Sacred Heart 51% to 45% and it was the first time the Bulldogs shot over 50% from the floor for the game. Senior guard Adam Parzych scored a season high 16 points (including 5 treys) and seven assists against Sacred Heart. Rebounding leader for both outings was another guard, Michael Chroney.  In fact, Chroney leads the Bulldogs in rebounding on the season.
  • Central Connecticut State – Lost to Savannah State then split NEC contests against Quinnipiac and Sacred Heart. Loss to Savannah was CCSU’s first at home this season. Shooting woes plagued the Blue Devils (under 30%) against Quinnipiac. CCSU found the range shooting 49% from the field at Sacred Heart. Junior Shemik Thompson broke out of a slump with a career high 27 points and a season high eight assists. CCSU’s win over Sacred Heart was a complete effort as the Blue Devils outrebounded the Pioneers 41-34 and had 19 assists and 10 steals.
  • FDU – Knights went 0-2 on their ’Western swing’ with losses to Robert Morris and St.Francis (PA). Senior forward Alvin Mofunanya continued his fine play averaging 17 PPG game for the week and shooting 44% from the field. FDU has four players averaging double figures in conference play. There may very well be another threat as junior forward Kamil Svrdlik, not one of the four alluded to,  posted thirteen points and nine rebounds in the St. Francis( PA) game.  Big week as FDU hosts Robert Morris and St. Francis (PA) for return rematches.
  • LIU – Split winning a fifth straight NEC game at Wagner before losing to Mount St. Mary’s also on the road. Blackbirds were on fire shooting 66% (10 of 15) from three point range at Wagner. Junior guard David Hicks led the way with 19 points, 4 rebounds and 2 blocks at Wagner. Despite the loss, LIU committed a season-low seven turnovers. Sophomore guard Michael Culpo hit all three of his three point attempts at the Mount and is 14-21 in NEC play.
  • Monmouth –  Split road games defeating St. Francis (PA) before losing to Robert Morris. Hit just 10 of 19 free throws at SFPA but bounced back for an 18 of 20 mark from the charity stripe against Robert Morris. Travis Taylor had a noteworthy week and has hit double figures twenty straight games dating back to last season. Senior guard Whitney Coleman is now eighth on Monmouth’s all time three point (made) shooting list and seventh in steals.
  • Mount St. Mary’s –  Split a pair of home games losing to St. Francis (NY) and defeating LIU. Senior lead guard Jeremy Goode had a big week handing out 17 assists over the two games. Against LIU, Goode had 17 points and 10 assists and senior forward Kelly Biedler had 15 points and 11 rebounds. That was the first time since January 26, 2002, the Mount had two players earn double-doubles in the same game. The Mount also had a season high 86 points and 20 assists in the win over LIU.
  • Quinnipiac - Bobcats went 3-0 with wins over Brown and Central Connecticut and Bryant in conference. Balance was the key as five Bobcats averaged in double figures for the week. Senior James Feldeine set the pace averaging 18 PPG. Care of the ball was another factor as Quinnipiac committed a total 22 turnovers the three games with nine a single game high. For the three contests Quinnipiac had 47 assists against the 22 turnovers , a 2.14 assist/turnover rate. Justin Rutty, the NEC leader with 10.4 RPG, continued his fine inside play for the Bobcats.
  • Robert Morris – Swept FDU and Monmouth last weekend to extend their conference win streak to 15 games at their Sewall Center. Have a crucial road trip this weekend as they visit those same two schools. Accurate shooting a big factor as the Colonials connected on 56% from the field last week. Freshman guard Karon Abraham continued to excel while senior forward Rob Robinson had a strong week. Colonials have now hit double figures in the win column nine consecutive seasons.
  • Sacred Heart – Defeated Bryant and lost to Central Connecticut. Sacred Heart saw an 18-point lead cut to five against Bryant. Junior guard Jerrell Thompson then canned a trey with just under two minutes to play to give the Pioneers breathing room en route to the win. Thompson had a career high 13 points that game and was 3 of 3 from beyond the arc.  Loss to CCSU snapped a four game win streak against the Blue Devils.
  • St. Francis (NY) – Went a perfect 3-0 with victories over Columbia, Mount St. Mary’s and Wagner. Junior guard Ricky Cadell averaged 19.7 PPG during the week. Cadell had help as another junior guard, Akeem Bennett averaged 15.0 PPG while adding 5.7 rebounds and 5.0 assists for the week. Terriers have won four of five and interestingly enough, have yet to score 70 points this season. Defense is the key as they limited opponents to 57.6 PPG during that five-game stretch and lead the NEC with a scoring defense mark of 65.0 PPG.
  • St. Francis (PA) – Lost at home to Monmouth and edged FDU. The win over FDU, also at home, snapped a three game losing streak for the Red Flash. Senior forward Devin Sweetney had a career high 15 rebounds against Monmouth. In the FDU game freshman guard Umar Shannon drove the length of the floor and was fouled with a second remaining. Shannon sank both shots to give the Red Flash the victory. Upcoming this week are return games at both Monmouth and FDU.
  • Wagner – Dropped games to LIU and St. Francis (NY). Seahawks are now in the midst of an eight game tail spin. Sophomore guard Chris Martin continues to lead Wagner in scoring with 12.9 PPG. Martin had 16 points in the St.Francis game. Completing the inside/outside combo is center Michael Orock. The Wagner senior leads the NEC with a 59% field goal percentage. Wagner trailed St. Francis by one with just under four minutes left. The Terriers then went on a 10-1 run to seal the verdict.

Upcoming games

January 28

  • LIU at Robert Morris
  • FDU at Bryant
  • Sacred Heart at Mount St. Mary’s

January 30

  • Quinnipiac at Mount St. Mary’s
  • Wagner at Sacred Heart

February 4

  • Robert Morris at St. Francis (PA)
  • LIU at St. Francis (NY)
Share this story